We keep chugging right along as we picked up another win yesterday when we backed the Chicago White Sox, on the road, against the Detroit Tigers. I felt strongly that Matthew Boyd was going to get hit hard, as he almost always does, and that while Dylan Cease hasn’t enjoyed a ton of success on the Major League level since joining the team last year, that he was starting to figure things out and was looking a little better each time he pitched.
I felt that the White Sox were undervalued at just -125, and fired on Chicago, expecting a higher scoring game, where the White Sox came out on top. And at the end of the day, that is exactly what happened. Matthew Boyd had a signature Matthew Boyd outing, as he struck out a bunch of guys, five in just 4.2 innings worked, but couldn’t keep hitters from squaring up on him and blasting the ball out of the ballpark.
#ChangetheGame from the very first at-bat.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 12, 2020
Tim Anderson set the tone early for Chicago when he led off the game with a home run, and Eloy Jimenez followed him up with back to back round-trippers. Before Boyd even broke a sweat, he had allowed two dingers, and his team was in a hole. The Tigers showed a lot of heart as they survived the early onslaught, and even briefly took the lead in the game, before seeing Boyd again get thrashed in the fifth inning, allowing four more runs.
All told, Boyd allowed seven runs, all earned, and the White Sox bullpen did enough to hang onto the win, and we cashed our ticket. If you get a chance to fade Matthew Boyd at close to even money against a team with a lot of power, you need to take it every time.
Boyd allowed 39 homers last season and has already allowed five more this season and just can’t be trusted against a team that can hit the long ball. For today’s daily betting pick, we will look to stay hot as we head to Philly, where the Phillies host the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore Orioles (9-7) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-8)
The Philadelphia Phillies host the Baltimore Orioles tonight in game three of a three-game set, hoping to salvage one game of this series after losing the first two games against an overachieving Orioles team. The Phillies missed a week of action to a Corona Virus scare, and had decent results upon their return, when they managed a 4-4 record against the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves, two of the best teams in the game. But getting swept by Baltimore would be devastating to their postseason dreams as they are already five full games back of first place in the NL East Division.
For Baltimore, the Orioles are off to a hot start, and shockingly, if the season ended today, they would make the postseason. The Orioles are on a four-game winning streak and are looking for their second series sweep of the season, after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this month. Only time will tell if the O’s can keep up this torrid pace the rest of the way out, but this team is playing good baseball right now and winning games.
Starting tonight for the Orioles is Tom Eshelman (0-0 3.68 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is Jake Arrieta (1-1 2.45 ERA). The game total over/under is set at ten runs. The Phillies are big -195 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM PST from Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.
Who saw this hot start coming for the Baltimore Orioles? I sure didn’t. This team has very little star power, and when you look at the roster, this isn’t a bunch of untested young guys making their mark in the big leagues for the first time, this is mostly veteran players that have shown they aren’t productive MLB level players, that are all of the sudden being quite productive.
Baltimore is managing to win games with guys like Chris Davis, Alex Cobb, Wade LeBlanc, and Jose Iglesias playing a bunch of innings, guys that we know aren’t as good as they are playing right now. The only question is, can Baltimore keep stringing together enough wins to stay in the playoff chase, with the postseason recently expanded to sixteen teams? My gut tells me no, but I wouldn’t have thought they would be in the position they are in now, with a winning record, more than a quarter way through the regular season.
Tom Eshelman (0-0 3.68 ERA)
Tom Eshelman is on the younger side of the Orioles roster, as he is still just 26-years old, and has only one big league season under his belt, coming last season with the O’s. Last year he was awful in ten appearances, split between the Baltimore rotation and the bullpen. In just 36 innings pitched, he allowed twelve home runs, walked eleven other guys, and had an ERA of 6.50.
But like most of the rest of this Orioles lineup, Eshelman has found a way to turn things around here in 2020. Eshelman has made two appearances for Baltimore this year, he pitched against the Marlins in long relief, and made a start against the Washington Nationals, and has been much better than he was last year. He hasn’t been exactly burning through opposing hitters, but his 3.68 ERA is nearly half of what he posted last year, and his three earned runs allowed in 7.1 innings worked, is more than respectable.
Philly needs to figure things out, and now, if they want to make the postseason. The starting pitching has been solid for Philly, particularly Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Wheeler, but the bullpen has been awful. Despite all three of those starters having ERA’s under three runs, the Phillies are currently 29th in the majors in ERA and 30th in batting average against.
The bats have been decent enough to keep them competitive in most games as they actually lead all of baseball in on-base percentage and are top five in slugging. One guy that they have to be happy to see playing well, is the face of the franchise, Bryce Harper. Harper is hammering the baseball right now. His on-base percentage is close to .500, and he is slugging a career-high .659.
Jake Arrieta (1-1 2.45 ERA)
Jake Arrieta has been around a long time and knows when his team needs him to pick them up. They need him right now. In his last start against the Atlanta Braves, they needed him to pitch well and carry the team, and he did just that as he pitched six shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves, and the Phillies won the game. Since that game, the Phillies have lost four out of their last five games, and they need him to stop the bleeding again, tonight at home.
Who Do I Like?
I keep waiting for this Orioles team to slow down, and it just hasn’t happened yet. I keep waiting for other “bad” teams like the Marlins and the Rockies to stop winning every night too, and that hasn’t happened yet either.
It’s like we are stuck in a weird episode of the twilight zone where the Marlins, Tigers, Orioles, and Rockies all make the playoffs, while the Red Sox, Astros Cardinals, and Angels all stay home. My brain tells me this has to stop, but my heart says, does it?
I am not going to fade the Orioles right now, not at this price. All the data tells me that they are going to struggle against Jake Arrieta and that they are deservedly major underdogs tonight on the road. But I am not going to fade the hot hand, and I will stay away from picking a side in this game. Where I will make my stand, though, is on the game total.
The first two games of this series were high scoring, and the bullpens got a lot of work. I have a feeling that the Phillies are going to lean hard on Arrieta tonight in this one, as the schedule ahead is brutal as they play 27 games in the next 27 days. Philly knows that they have to win tonight, and they know their bullpen is garbage, which tells me to expect 7+ innings from Arrieta.
I think Arrieta finds a way to slow this hot Orioles team down and dominates tonight. He has looked very good this season against the Yankees and the Braves, two of the best hitting teams in baseball. I think we get a strong outing out of him, and with a double-digit game total, Philly won’t do enough at the plate to push the total over by themselves. So, I’ll expect a lower scoring game, and jump on the under ten runs tonight in Philly!